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"The Heart to Forgive"

Date published: 05/09/2016
Matthew 18:32-33, 35 “Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ This is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (NIV)  

   This parable which begins in Matthew 18:21 illustrates God’s great love for us. We, without merit, have been forgiven our past, present, and future sins. The breadth and depth of God’s forgiveness should humble and guide every follower of Christ on a daily basis. In Deuteronomy 8:14, we see how our pride and forgetfulness can set us up for failure, “Then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (NIV)  

   God’s great compassion and forgiveness was not meant for our self-satisfaction, but rather a motivator to love others as Jesus loved us. Ephesians 4:32 takes this forgiveness a step further by showing the Godly traits that fuel our ability to forgive and care for others, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV) Loving and forgiving as Jesus did requires you to allow Jesus into the depths of your heart. The more you allow Jesus to penetrate your heart, the more your sin will be uncovered. It is this revealing of sin that allows God to take you from a life of shallow repentance to a life that is being further transformed by God’s grace and love. Moving from a life of shallow repentance allows the Holy Spirit to sculpt deeper levels of humility, compassion, and love in you. Your interactions with others will begin to move from an uncaring and callous attitude to a lifestyle that puts others first. It is this other focus that allows you to not only respond to the needs of others, but to also more readily display forgiveness and reconciliation.  

Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (NIV) 

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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “God’s Purpose For You” and “Knowing God’s Will.” 

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